Opened in July of 2015, Cannibal is remarkable not only for featuring a beyond-vertical drop but for being built in-house. Although its creation was a collaborative endeavor involving various individuals and entities, the finished product is overwhelmingly the work of Utah contractors and Lagoon.
Cannibal looks frankly terrifying. Housed in a massive tower from which the trains emerge before making a precipitous plunge, it features an Immelmann loop, dive loop, overbanked curve and two consecutive heartline rolls, the latter of which have been designated by the park as the “Lagoon Roll.” Cannibal operates with six trains seating four across in three rows for a total capacity of twelve riders. The restraint is a lapbar. One thing that impressed me immediately was the double loading – something I’d never seen at any park – and consequent speed of dispatch. Upon dispatch the train moves forward onto an elevator lift which takes the riders up 208 feet, mostly in the dark. At the top the train exits the tower onto a short section of track that appears to end abruptly, creating the impression that the riders are about to go off the end of a cliff.
The train comes to a standstill at the edge of the drop, adding to the considerable suspense, and without any warning plummets at a 116-degree angle during what is unquestionably the most hair-raising drop I have ever experienced on any roller coaster. It is also the most exhilarating. At the bottom of the drop the train dives into a tunnel and ascends into an Immelmann loop, followed by a dive loop and overbanked curve before it reaches the block brake. This comes just before the Lagoon Roll, a slow-motion test of fortitude. The double heartline roll, with the train rotating in a different direction on each one, is murderously intense. This is followed by a 450-degree helix that ends with the train passing through another tunnel by the side of a waterfall before returning to the station. What a ride!
Cannibal lives up to its publicity and is well worth the trip to Utah. It’s thrilling, unique and exceptionally smooth. It’s also exceptionally well-themed. Extreme? Certainly. Terrifying? Possibly. It is, in a word, AWESOME! 5 out of 5 stars. For more information about rides at Lagoon, visit www.lagoonpark.com/ First photo by Cassidy Hansen, other two by me.